How does FreeBalance Support Governments Globally?

FreeBalance Optimizes Customer Service through a “Glocal” Approach

By the numbers, FreeBalance supports government implementations using the FreeBalance Accountability Suite in:

  • 30 countries and growing
  • all World Bank regions
  • 16 time zones
  • small to very large countries by size and population

Why it matters: our mission, as a social enterprise, is to make Public Financial Management (PFM) 

  • reform sustainable through software progressive activation where technology supports modernization directions
  • financially sustainable by making it inexpensive to support legal and process reform

Yet, many countries are stuck with Financial Management Information Systems (FMIS) that are neither reform or financially sustainable

How can a medium-sized Canadian company support governments around the world?

  • Surely we need a big presence to support governments…
  • …despite governments experiencing poor support and poor sustainability from large global companies with local presence

Our customer-centric support process innovation began by rejecting traditional vendor approaches and looking at the entire product sustainability lifecycle

What is the FreeBalance support innovation?

  • Small focused expert teams help – don’t be fooled by notions that more people is more – it’s about quality, not quantity
  • All staff who implement, support, and develop our software understand PFM
  • As our President and CEO, Manuel Pietra, tells us:
  • And, the use of a “Glocal” model that is more locally adaptable than traditionally thought

What is a “Glocal” model? Our approach:

  • Create highly adaptable Government Resource Planning (GRP) software for local contexts
  • Hire local people with PFM knowledge who bring language and social context skills for implementations
  • Build capacity via global experts (our local hires and public servants)
  • Retain local staff after implementations for advisory services and system sustainability
  • Integrate our local consultants into our service network

Local personnel tap into the FreeBalance structure of global second and third line support by experienced help-desk staff who have PFM and GRP expertise

  • Leverage PFM domain knowledge in similar contexts for advice
  • Leverage physical and virtual offices operating in all times zones integrated with our local offices
  • Activate cross functional SWAT teams when major problems occur
  • Improve support processes based on feedback from the FreeBalance International Steering Committee
  • Engage governments by direct visits from FreeBalance executives

Most importantly: FreeBalance scales to make GRP implementations sustainable in traditionally remote and underserved markets

…because that’s our social responsibility & that’s why we call this sustainability services rather than “support”

[images & statistics via wikipedia]

By the numbers:

  • Nunavut, in Canadian north is over 100 times larger than Timor-Leste with a population almost 30 times smaller than Timor-Leste
  • Nunavut is larger than Mongolia (also a FreeBalance customer), and far less populous

How do we build capacity for new hires in the Glocal approach? We:

  • Hire local staff with expertise and potential
  • Allocate local staff to participate in government workshops and mandatory training, part of our implementation methodology
  • Certify local staff with required skills through online courses and tests
  • Engage our global mentoring network to help 

Why don’t more firms use Glocal approaches?

  • Client billing is more lucrative when parachuting in global experts with big per diem rates into countries
    • We believe in financial sustainability for governments meaning that we use local staff with local rates as much as possible
  • Risk is perceived when using local staff by many global companies who don’t recognize the power of diversity
    • We believe that local staff reduces implementation and support risk because they understand the country context, internal government politics, and social communications
  • Systems integration firms traditionally implement Commercial-Off-The-Shelf (COTS) software creating a support disconnection: the COTS manufacturer supporting customers does not understand the customer context
    • We believe that we should be involved in all implementations to reduce risk and that local staff who understand the configuration also support governments
    • We also believe that our products and services improve because of direct implementation involvement 

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